THE BEST History

The Earth in One Day

The Earth in One Day

Imagine, if you will, that the entire 4.5 billion year history of the Earth was collapsed down to a 24-hour single day. Bright Side’s educational video does just that, taking significant events in the development of our world and giving us a relative sense of how closely together they played out.

When Time Became History

When Time Became History

To celebrate the release of their Human Era Calendar for the year 12,021, Kurzgesagt looks to the distant future to imagine what it might be like for future archeologists as they attempt to reconstruct our present, along with the challenges we face figuring out our past.

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Forgotten Failures

Forgotten Failures

Did you know that Warner Bros. made an entire unaired Blazing Saddles TV series just so they could skirt a contract issue with Mel Brooks? Or that the GEICO cavemen had a sitcom? Hats Off Entertainment’s Forgotten Failures is a great series about these and other obscure sequels and reboots.

Why Salt and Pepper Go Together

Why Salt and Pepper Go Together

In many parts of the world, using salt and pepper to season foods is as ubiquitous as the duo of ketchup and mustard. But how did this pairing of two very different seasonings rise to such popularity? BBC Ideas series Edible Histories provides a brief backgrounder on the flavorful combo.

Did Cavemen Ever Really Exist?

Did Cavemen Ever Really Exist?

We all have a pretty specific image in mind when someone says “caveman.” But did these thick-browed, cave-dwelling early humans exist, or is this just a caricature created by popular culture? Today I Found Out digs into what we now know about the Stone Age, and how closely it matches up with these stereotypes.

The London Necropolis Railway

The London Necropolis Railway

Today we learned how in the 1800s, entrepreneurs in London, England built a special railway strictly for the dead. With the big city overflowing with corpses, the Necropolis Railway was born, hauling bodies out to the countryside on one final train ride. Infrequently Asked Questions shares more of this strange history lesson.

A Brief History of Home Video

A Brief History of Home Video

These days, most content is streamed or played on Blu-ray discs. But there was a time when videotapes were the media of choice. Mental Floss takes a trip in the wayback machine to tell the story of VCRs, the epic war between Betamax and VHS, and how the technologies changed everything for visual entertainment.

The History of Ketchup and Mustard

The History of Ketchup and Mustard

Ketchup and mustard go hand-in-hand, but they both have very different origins, separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles. Mental Floss provides a brief history of the popular condiments. While early mustards were similar to today’s, the first ketchups had more in common with fish sauce.

The Great Stink of 1858

The Great Stink of 1858

After years of piling up garbage and other nasty waste in London, England, the city was overwhelmed with a horrific stench. Weird History looks back at this terribly nasty part of the 19th century, and how it led to major improvements in the city’s hygiene and waste disposal infrastructure.

The Baroque Theorbo

The Baroque Theorbo

Here’s an unusual musical instrument we never heard of before now. Created in the 17th century, the enormous baroque theorbo is basically a lute on steroids. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny explain the history of the theorbo, and provide a sampling of the sounds that it produces.

The Origin of Digital Communities

The Origin of Digital Communities

Before the Internet we know today, we had standalone services like AOL. And before that, we had Bulletin Board Systems. These homebrew hangouts let people with similar interests congregate via their computers. Off the Cuf looks back at the first BBS and its creators, and how they laid the groundwork for much to come.

Why Cooper Black Is Everywhere

Why Cooper Black Is Everywhere

The font Cooper Black dates all the way back to 1922, and over its century in use has appeared everywhere from David Bowie albums to ramen noodles, to signs for neighborhood businesses. Vox digs into the history of this playful, yet legible serif typeface, and why it became so popular.

The World’s Largest Truck Stop

The World’s Largest Truck Stop

Off the Cuf’s video not only takes us on a tour of the enormous Iowa 80 Truck Stop, it spends a good bit of time delving into the history of trucking goods across America, and the importance of this critical industry in delivering food and other items that we rely on every day.

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The History of Chocolate

The History of Chocolate

Chocolate has been one of the world’s favorite confections for thousands of years. But it hasn’t always been the sweet treat we know and love today. Mental Floss host Justin Dodd takes us through the earliest known uses of cacao beans, and explains the process that turns it into chocolate.

The Past We Can Never Return to

The Past We Can Never Return to

Science video makers Kurzgesagt teamed up with author and online personality John Green to create an animated clip to accompany an excerpt from his podcast The Anthropocene Reviewed. The focus of the episode is on the possible meaning of cave paintings, and what they might tell us about the human condition.

No-Nails Survival Shelter

No-Nails Survival Shelter

We may take the roof over our head for granted these days, but in the 18th century, families venturing into the interior of North America had to build their own shelters to survive the elements as they headed westward. Frontier lifestyle expert Jon Townsend shows us how they might have constructed a shelter without any nails.

Who Ate the First Oyster?

Who Ate the First Oyster?

In his latest book, author Cody Cassidy (And Then You’re Dead) offers up the origin stories of everyday stuff. From the first time anyone ever used soap, to the first time someone drank beer, it’s packed with fascinating stories about ubiquitous things, told in a fun and illuminating way.

World Land Rover Day

World Land Rover Day

On April 30, 1948, famed British off-road brand Land Rover first came into being. To celebrate the company’s birthday, they’ve shared a terrific gallery of historic images which capture scenes of these rugged and versatile vehicles helping people achieve great things.

Who Killed America’s Malls?

Who Killed America’s Malls?

(PG-13: Language) Here in America, shopping malls are a dying breed. But what happened to these symbols of capitalism that were once the gathering place for teens as they sipped on Orange Juliuses and perused the black light illuminated aisles of Spencer Gifts? Ordinary Things explores the demise of the mall.

The Ubiquitous Monobloc

The Ubiquitous Monobloc

This omnipresent stackable chair is known as a “Monobloc,” and it can be found everywhere from suburban backyards to major tourist attractions. What is it about this mundane, yet functional piece of molded plastic that made it so wildly popular? Neo digs into this so-called “context-free object.”

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The History of the McRib

The History of the McRib

The idea of a pork patty “restructured” into the shape of ribs is just wrong to us, but that didn’t stop McDonald’s from doing it, nor did it stop millions from craving this boneless fast food oddity. Weird History dives into the origins of the McRib sandwich in this lighthearted lesson.

The Secret History of Masks

The Secret History of Masks

(PG-13: Language) While they’re not the most fashionable things, face masks are a must in public places these days. Ordinary Things dives into the origins of face coverings, from the earliest ceremonial masks, to costumes, to their use as protective gear. Can you imagine walking around in those plague doctor masks?

What Was Zamrock?

What Was Zamrock?

There was a brief moment in the 1970s when a unique musical style hit the scene. Musicians from Zambia, influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple, melded rock with African rhythms, creating a distinctive sound. Bandsplaining offers up a thoughtful look back at this seldom talked about genre, known as “Zamrock.”

The Story of Silver Apples

The Story of Silver Apples

If you think that electronic music was born in the 1970s or 1980s, you’d be wrong. Bandsplaining introduces us to Silver Apples, a group who was way ahead of their time, creating innovative glitch-pop sounds back in 1967. They even worked with Jimi Hendrix, but faded into obscurity after a controversial album cover did them in.

Why Plastic Exists

Why Plastic Exists

In the early 1900s, electricity was about to take the world by storm. But live wires couldn’t safely be used without insulation. Resin harvested from insects worked, but was too expensive to harvest. Necessity being the mother of invention, it drove chemist Leo Baekeland to develop what would become the world’s first plastic.

Weird Old Predictions

Weird Old Predictions

While many considered Nikolai Tesla to be a genius, he also had some pretty outlandish ideas, like the notion that we would stop drinking coffee by the 21st century. Mental Floss editor Erin McCarthy explores this and a number of other wacky predictions that have yet to come true, among them, undersea buses propelled by whales.

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